Lionel Messi is doubtful for tomorrow's pivotal matchup against NYFC at DRV PNK stadium. The Herons desperately missed their superstar during Wednesday's US Open Cup loss against Houston Dynamo in what could have been the club's second trophy this season.
Messi watched the club's losing effort from the club's VIP box on Wednesday night. However, he joined his teammates in training at Fort Lauderdale early Friday morning.
The World Cup winner has been out of the lineup due to an ongoing scar-tissue injury to his right hamstring. He left the game early in the first half against Toronto on September 20 and has been out since. Miami fans denounced head coach Tata Martino for playing Messi too early after an intensive international break.
Martino promptly rested Messi in the last two matches, for which Miami is paying the price in their 2-1 loss on Wednesday. Left-back Jordi Alba also missed the match due to suffering a hamstring injury and will miss forthcoming games.
“It was clearly not prudent for him to play, not even for a few minutes. It was too risky. Yes, he will surely play before the league season ends. We will go game by game to see at what point the medical team says he is in condition to play without running risks,” said Inter Miami boss Tata Martino after the match.
So, will Messi play on Saturday against NYFC?
Miami is fighting for the ninth-place final playoff spot, which NYFC currently occupies. Time is running out for the Herons, with five games left to make the playoffs.
Martino is probably itching for Messi to suit up, but it's too risky — the superstar risks injury for the remainder of the season. As he said, Messi “will surely play before the league season ends.” So, it sounds like Messi's availability in Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow night will be a game-time decision.
In addition, Argentina starts its 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign next month. The Abiliceste play Paraguay on October 12 and Peru on October 17; we know Messi won't miss those.
Lionel Messi's all-time statistics with Inter Miami:
|Statistic||Lionel Messi at Inter Miami|
|Total Appearances (Apps)||12|
|Minutes Per Goal||85 mins|
|Minutes Per Goal Contribution||58 mins|
Inter Miami vs. New York City FC game
The Inter Miami vs. New York City FC match kicks off from DRV PNK Stadium on October 1 at 7:30 PM EST. Miami has only defeated NYFC once in their regular season matchup history, during a 3-2 triumph last season.
Can a Messi-less Miami squad turn up and keep the Herons fighting for that last playoff spot?